Rasmussen: Romney 45%, Obama 43%

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Mitt Romney and President Obama still run nearly even in Florida just days after the Republican named Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Florida shows Romney earning 45% support to the president’s 43%. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.

This is the first survey of the race in the Sunshine State since Romney announced the Wisconsin congressman as his vice presidential choice. Last month, it was Romney 46%, Obama 45%.

Retirees are a sizable bloc of voters in Florida, and Democrats are already criticizing Ryan’s Medicare reform proposal in an effort to win those voters. But 48% of the state’s voters fear the president’s health care law more than Ryan’s proposal when it comes to the future of Medicare. Just 41% fear Ryan’s proposal more.

Among seniors, 54% are more fearful of the president’s plan.

Romney now holds a 24-point lead over Obama among Florida voters 65 and older. Last month, the GOP challenger held a 17-point lead in this age group.

Voters 65 and older also view Ryan more favorably than younger voters do. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of these older voters express a favorable opinion of Ryan, including 42% with a Very Favorable view of him. Fifty-four percent (54%) of retirees say Romney made the right choice when he picked Ryan, and 50% say they are more likely to vote for the Republican with Ryan on the ticket. Twenty-nine percent (29%) in this group say they are less likely to vote for Romney because of Ryan.

The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Florida was conducted on August 15, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of voters who fear the health care law more favor Romney. Obama earns 84% support from voters who are more scared of Ryan’s proposal.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of all voters in the state have a favorable opinion of Medicare, while only 28% view the government health insurance program for retirees unfavorably. This includes 29% with a Very Favorable opinion and nine percent (9%) with a Very Unfavorable one. That’s a slightly more favorable opinion than voters express nationally.

Florida voters share similar views of Ryan compared to voters nationwide. Ryan is seen favorably by 47% in Florida and unfavorably by 33%. This includes 28% with a Very Favorable view and 23% with a Very Unfavorable one. Ten percent (10%) are not familiar with him.

Forty-three percent (43%) of Florida voters say Romney made the right choice; 32% disagree, and 24% are not sure. Thirty-three percent (33%) say the Ryan selection will make them more likely to vote for Romney. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say they are less likely to do so, while 26% say it will have no impact on their voting decision.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) think Ryan is ready to be president if necessary, but 45% disagree. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided. Seventy-eight percent (78%) describe Ryan as a conservative, including 49% who say he’s Very Conservative.

Only eight percent (8%) of voters in Florida now rate the U.S. economy as good or excellent. Fifty-two percent (52%) describe it as poor. Thirty-one percent (31%) say the economy is getting better, but 41% think it is getting worse. The president is well ahead among voters who view the economy positively, while Romney has a sizable lead among the much larger group that rates the economy as poor.

If the president is reelected and Democrats take control of Congress, 50% of Florida voters expect government spending to go up. Only 14% think it will go down. If Romney wins and the GOP takes over all of Congress, only 24% think spending will increase, while 42% predict it will go down.

Obama carried Florida over John McCain in 2008 by a 51% to 49% margin. Forty-nine percent (49%) approve of the job he is now doing as president, while the identical number (49%) disapprove. This includes 30% who Strongly Approve of his job performance and 41% who Strongly Disapprove.

Romney is seen favorably by 49% of Sunshine State voters and unfavorably by 48%, with Very Favorables of 30% and Very Unfavorables of 29%.

The GOP hopeful now posts a seven-point lead among voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.